Time and the Weather

Time and the Weather

The hours escape, flee from the net.
Clock watcher, be not upset.
You cannot trap time.
Its passing, do not regret.
Be glad to be here.
One moment cannot be
bought back with a bet
nor can air be caught in a sieve.
Good times when time you forget
will come to you yet.

“Look at it now.
You wouldn’t believe it was raining before.
And last night, thunder and hail.”
“Hail, was it? I thought it was snow.”
“Oh, no, it was hail.
April, that’s what it is.
You never know what it will do.”
The English and the weather,
so unpredictable, always a surprise.
However old they are, the way it changes,
they never get used to.

A house with no clocks,
no mark on the calendar,
crumbles, punished by time
it failed to withstand.

Advertisements

Visit To The Exhibition

Visit To The Exhibition

It was windy when I went.
After a shower, the grass was wet,
windows dripped with rain.
On my way, the air though dry was chill,
but when like a drawing
crayoned by a child, the yellow sun
burst out from clouds in blue sky,
I felt heat on my skin,
and in the gardens I passed by,
daffodils, bluebells, snowdrops
reassured me it was spring.
April, soon to make way for May,
was far from spent.
Got off the train at Central Station.
At last, my visit to the exhibition.
Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion,
the words I read on the poster,
as up the steps to the Walker Art Gallery,
I was glad to feel my feet.
A seagull, sat on the head of a statue
of a Victorian architect, made me stop and smile.
It was worth it what they did,
the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
to break away from what was taught at the Royal Academy,
what was expected by the art critics,                                                                                                         to create on canvas what they thought was good,
that was true to their truth to nature philosophy.
What moves me in their works is absent in much modern art,
and that is love, love of nature,
The Bible and fine literature, the poetry of Dante,
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats,
most of all, women, for those who posed for them they loved,
became their wives, lovers.
Not in the exhibition was Lizzie Siddal as Ophelia,
floating on her back with flowers, drowned in a river,
after Hamlet had scolded her, told her to get to a nunnery.
But there was The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt,
painted on the shores of the Dead Sea.
I stood before the goat with the scarlet cloth bound to its horns,
alone in a dry, cracked wilderness with bones of dead beasts,
and no sign of grass or water.
On the base of the gold frame I read the words from The Bible:
“And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities
unto a land not inhabited.”
It was supposed to cleanse them of their sins,
the congregation of the temple,
to bind the scarlet cloth, the symbol of their sins,
to the horns of the goat,
then to send it out into the wilderness.
Maybe, at least, it made them feel better, what they did.
The Beguiling of Merlin, I was pleased to find and stand before.
Edward Burne-Jones, its painter,
rebelled most against the machine,
its cold wheels, its pounding engine,
its metal serpent hiss, its chimney’s choking smoke.
He did so by illustrating tales of Arthur and his knights,
creating angels on canvas and in stained glass windows.
Out of the exhibition, walking down Church Street,
back to Central Station, I was pleased to note
a change in my perception. I saw like a painter would.
O, my, it must have been good,
to be a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
to see like that, not just for one day, like me,
but every day, and I understood
that every canvas they did must have taken them deeper in,
closer to the truth they sought,
gave them a sharper eye, a cleaner vision.
They did not reveal what was hid,
but what was there for any eye to see,
leaf, berry, water, flower, stone,
woman, man, child, bird, sky, tree.
A little boy ran towards me,
smiling, almost laughing,
chasing a pigeon on the pavement.
In the end, I knew the pigeon would escape
for it had wings.
The boy, like the rest of us, had only feet,
bound to the ground.
Now there’s a subject for a painting, I thought.
Boy In Pursuit Of A Pigeon, I would call my canvas.
On my way home from the railway station,
I was pleased to note my change in perception persisted,
for the blossom on branches and the flowers in gardens,
I passed by, I saw as a painter would,
and if I were, I thought, I would have urged my feet home,
to sketch and paint for a new canvas before the light faded.
And as I peeled potatoes and a turnip in the kitchen sink,
I saw them in my new way with my painter’s eye.
Even if life leaves me with naught but sour wine
in a broken cup,
the exhibition taught me, art will always lift me up.

 

Word To The Wind

Word To The Wind

When to Shakespeare and his works I attend,
I lean back in my mind and acknowledge,
this man was alive while he lived,
each play of his a celebration of language and life,
and if they have one lesson to give,
it is to be alive while you live.

Clearly not one simply to go through the motions,
he could give word to the wind
that murmured in the greenwood, moaned on the heath,
towered to tempest, to rage from the oceans.

No, do not just let the days go by,
know each moment is new, held by your eye.
What waves fall towards you, life to them give,
be alive while you live.

Lines on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Death of William Shakespeare

Lines on the Four Hundredth Anniversary
of the Death of William Shakespeare

Four hundred years,
that is one hundred years less than half a thousand,
that is a long time to be absent from the stage,
a long time for your plays to go on and have no equal,
still be performed, that first you wrote with your quill,
to scratch the letters in ink on the page.
You nailed the sonnet, remain the master of blank verse drama.
In honour of your name they should
plant four hundred oaks, fire four hundred cannons,
shoot four hundred arrows, race four hundred horses,
ring four hundred church bells.
Over the top that may seem,
but not enough for the one who gave us
Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, The Tempest,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
to name of your works only a few.
In my mind, when I think of you,
I see you sat in an inn, near the Thames,
by your theatre, the Globe,
drinking with your acting company,
no doubt partly discussing your latest play.
Strangely, you alone seeming not to be an actor,
aware of all you can see and hear around you,
with the genius to do what only you could do,
that is, put it all into words,
able as you were to give words to king and queen,
as much as to beggar, drunkard, thief.
All’s Well That Ends Well, as you wrote.
They joke now that your works are full of quotes to quote.
Writers cannot write like that now,
for people do not speak like that now,
not even in monologue.
Strange to think that Hamlet does not exist on the page,
like a character in a novel.
What we read are but the lines
for the actor to say in his way on stage,
guided by the play’s director.
And what we see on stage is not Hamlet,
but one interpretation of him
by one actor and director.
The words remain the same, however,
and it is them we remember.
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Hamlet understood that there was a choice,
when the root was found,
the skin shed from the bone,
when the truth made you outcast,
and on the bare stage you found yourself alone.
This April is chilly, wet, grey.
On its twenty third day
will be the four hundredth anniversary of your death,
William Shakespeare, Bard of Avon,
word smith of Warwickshire.

My Finalist Certificate

The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards for 2015
Finalist
Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle
Philip Dodd

Paperback version:
amazon.co.uk/Klubbe-Turkle-Golden-Star-Coracle/dp/1326191071
amazon.com/Klubbe-Turkle-Golden-Star-Coracle/dp/1326191071
Kindle Version:
amazon.co.uk/Klubbe-Turkle-Golden-Star-Coracle-ebook/dp/B00VHY4CM0
amazon.com/Klubbe-Turkle-Golden-Star-Coracle-ebook/dp/B00VHY4CM0

The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards
website:  http://www.thewsa.co.uk

Philip Dodd
website:  http://philipdodd.yolasite.com

Timon of Menapaws

Timon of Menapaws

Now find the splinter that our parchment rent.
I, Timon of Menapaws, to mix not my metaphors,
on my death bed lie, that is, in accordance with my fish fusion.
Sorry, forgive my deaf head, my wit hovers low,
dimly dawdles slow, here comes the correction inclusion,
I mean my physician.
The medicine I must sup from my spoon
with its prescription as undecipherable as a faded Viking rune,
tastes like Druid broth gone sour,
but I will linger yet an hour.
But less of my pork heath or poor health,
as I should say, I wish to speak more
of this vote they demand of me in June,
to leave or not the European Union.
Would that from my right big toe they could with pincers cleave
the moss green and black growth that is my bunion.
In truth, it has been there with no throb of pain
since my increasingly vague but vagabond youth.
But to return to my vote in the merry month of June,
and whenever has June or any other month been merry,
unless one holds to the heart love’s sweet cherry?
What would the fifth king who bore the name of Henry,
his commands bawled out among the falling flights of arrows
at Agincourt, think of those two words combined, European Union?
Would he not say that it was but a monk man’s ideal
that could not and never would be real?
Would not Wellington and Napoleon at Waterloo
mock such a notion, too?
So, too, Nelson at Trafalgar?
Ah, but by the wasp that bit my arm, it is but about politics,
as regards trade and immigration, which is to most dust dull,
and to which they give less than half a mull.
O, shield my thin laugh when in my tin bath,
I muse on those among those who vote Labour
who vote truly not for them but an idealised
Left Wing version of them that never was or could be,
having sympathy for the fox, in fury against
the horns and hounds of all to do with Tory.
That they cannot see, and with my verdict would not agree.
Some say he who holds the prime silver pistol
of the united mates should not comment on the debate,
but is this not even a demi-democracy?
Strange that I may be dead before June,
and therefore not in a fit state to cast my vote.
I die an old grey coughing goat,
visited by the most unwelcome Tim Weeper or Grim Reaper,
however you wish the shadow that casts no shadow named.
Methinks, maybe I like the sound of European Union,
like Arthur did  the Round Table,
that which Mordred broke in the last battle.
I leave the stage for the fool with his bells and broken rattle.
In this, my final act, let me take up my lute.
Ballad for the Bard, I will try to play.
It is only hard if you have naught to say.
Who can say what looms on the line?
It may be drab drizzle, it may turn out fine.

 

Spring in England

Spring in England

In the higher branches of the evergreens,
three magpies squabble with a crow.
Why and what it means only they would know.
A pigeon disturbs them,
flutters down, lands nearby.
Not bound to stay, they flap away,
below the blue spring sky.
A few starlings nod their heads,
pace this way and that,
inspect the lawn for worms,
a trail of slug or snail,
watched from behind reeds
by a crouching cat,
on this bright, contented day.
Even better will come, I can safely say.
Though that on the news is real,
what I see in my garden
is spring in England as it has always been,
birds alert, perched, in flight,
in worlds of blue and green.
And I know, when waked by love,
be it in winter or in spring,
the heart is a tender thing,
for it is then exposed, vulnerable.
The mind concludes
that before roused by love,
the heart merely functions,
is barely attended to,
but when the mind is conscious of love,
the heart is stirred, like a bird,
breathes, pines to sing.
It is then when the heart is a tender thing.